Malcolm Bricklin's plans to sell a million Chinese-built vehicles a year in North America by the end of the decade could be the first wave of a new export flood from Asia.
Bricklin's plans would challenge established automakers, especially those that depend on sales at the low end of the market, such as Kia and Hyundai. That's if Chery can build attractive, desirable cars for 30 percent less than the lowest-cost competition.
That's a big if.
Another big hurdle will be adding the necessary capacity, the equivalent of at least three assembly plants.
Automakers also have heard reports that Honda may build an inexpensive minicar in Thailand or Malaysia and sell it in Europe. That could be the next big export wave.
Once upon a time, Japan was the low-cost producer. Then came Korea. Now it's China. And before the first Chinese vehicle has even been sold here, other countries are waiting for their turn.
Right now, there doesn't seem to be much of a market in America for cars that small.
But just 30 years ago, most Americans thought Japanese cars were too small, Korean cars were too cheap and they had never even heard of Yugos.
Every automaker in the world still believes that the streets in America are paved with gold.
So never say never.